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tv   [untitled]    December 24, 2012 1:00pm-1:30pm PST

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terribly but we will never forget him. thank you. [applause] >> milton never stopped advocating for what he believed that the kreakdz and maintenance of san francisco's forestry program was civic involvement and support and i think milton would appreciate that if we knock on supervisor's doors and do some advocacy since we're all here anyway. although milton didn't relish the work he had to do in these halls he knew it was necessary for the canopy
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outside to grow and thrive and let's remember where his legacy really lies and it gives me solace to know that his sons will see him imprint in san francisco every time they walk down the street. let's all look up and remember him this way. thank you. [applause] >> we get to meet milton's niece zoey marks. >> i was think about the past 19 years with my uncle milton in preparation for writing this piece but i was really stumped. how could i encapsulate such a generous relationship i had
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with my uncle in five minutes? as a last resort i went to facebook and the refuge for all bored teenagers especially late at night. turns out there was a wealth of communication between my uncle. and my topic and i was going to write about the wonderful similarities between milton and me and the first similarity is obvious. both of us were incapable of sleeping at a normal hour, night owls. i would have on my news feed and my cat box will open and one of the humorious remarks would come on the screen
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and i would just giggle and this leads to the next similarity and that being a beautiful dry whit, and whole some ability at laughing at laugh and the one liner that says it all. i am carefully cultivating my own sense of humor and i hope to make as many laugh as my uncle did you all and the one similarity i hope that we possess and if not i will create it as my uncle did is inherent sense of kindness and make anyone feel at ease and boundless ability of compassion and that beauty only is in a few souls
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and my uncle possessed many more qualities and too numerous here but i remember him as someone i would to be friends with and strive to be like more and more everyday. [applause] >> now milton's friends and colleague gia danler. >> milton and i met in early 1998 as fellow participants in a leadership development program and recently before started in san francisco by the jewish community relations council. the program called the new leaders project included 20 or so youngish jewish emerging
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leaders who either were involved civically but not involved in the jewish community or those involved in the jewish organizations but not in the broader civic realm. milton and i were in the former category. i was working for barbara boxer at the time and milton who you grew up in politics was involved with friends of the urban forest and a leader in many ways but had only recently moved back to san francisco after years on the east coast to help care for his ailing father and spend more
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time with family among other things, so participating in this program was a way for him to start the next chapter of his life back in san francisco to build new friendships, and to reconnect with the local community. i think it's fair to say that he was view as the older statesman of the group. not because of his age. there were many other similar people his age but because of his sage like quality. milton was a wise soul and every one recognized it and benefits from it. soon after the program ended both he and i joined the board of the democratic jewish club and milton became president the following year. just two years after having moved back to san francisco, but more than any shared any in politics the bond that we had, and that i saw him
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form with so many other members of our group and in other parts of his life was built on true friendship and caring. with milton there was no pretense. he was just real, and the friendship was based on true desire for connection. when i think of milton many different things come to mind. his smile, his thoughtfulness, the dinner parties at his house, his old apartment on seventh avenue, trying out new recipes and getting to meet friend who is are here today, his integrity at all timeses, his genuineness, his love for his three boys,
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his immense respect devotion to his father and respect for his mother and how he lived after he became ill each additional day with his family and friends was a blessing. one of my strongest memories is from his wedding day. i have been to many weddings including my own, and the only time can actually remember the words of the o officialant was from that day and the rabbi, may he rest in peace, said profound things
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at the vineyards and no one could ask for a more spectacular setting and the rabbi spoke of two souls who had waited many years searching patiently. the visual that he used, the imagery was so profound. he spoke of two ripe full pieces of fruit, plump, and abbey and milton we know we're never plump. that is besides the point. he spoke of the two pieces of fruit at their fullest, at their ripest, at their sweetest, and just as one might have thought that it would never happen these two souls found each other, and would move forward to complete each other,
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and while the years ahead were not always easy. there were twists and turns and ups and downs. the love that he and abbey shared was truly amazing. not because of bold gestures or declarations on facebook, but the day in and day out devotion that you shared with each other in ways big and small. abbey, you were truly a blessing to milton as milton was to you, and as he was to so many of us, and that is what i will remember most. [applause]
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>> now, we get to meet novela smith, milton's former campaign manager and friend. >> i would like to thank abbey for asking me to speak today. i'm humbled abbey. thank you very much. most of you don't know me, so i'm going to keep this pretty brief. for those that don't know i was his campaign manager in 2004. he wanted to be board president -- excuse me, that was beautiful because he wanted to refocus the college board. i was really surprised when milton asked me to run his campaign. i didn't know him very well. since i only ran campaigns for people i knew, and for people who are
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interested in education and children, i was sort of surprised to find him on my door step. excuse me. so i didn't know enough about him to really say "yes" so i decided to ask around about him. l you can imagine the surprise i heard from people. they loved him. he was beloved by everyone that i respected in education and politics, so i decided to call him and meet with him, and on our first meeting we had so much fun that i decided -- who cares? at least i will have fun with this guy. not only did have fun, but he trownsed most of the city that year in voter turnout. since most of my political focus is education and children i'm not someone you should ask to run your campaign lightly. i
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think henny will tell you that. i will vet you intensely and get in your face, and i will question your beliefs, and i want to make sure you're serious about service in education, and it's funny as milton was he was very serious about service to his city. for some people the call to politics is great. for some it is ego or path to money or power or corruption. some people are called to politics for service, and the political arena it's hard to know a person's calling. in milton's case it was his genetic makeup. it was his everyday. it was as much a part of him as his receding hair line. his great love and commitment to making city college a fine institution for every person in our city
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was part of his circulatory system, and yes he was a politician, and a fine one at that, but his calling was better serve the future of san francisco to save our institutions for his children and our children and your children. oh this is loss. the loss is great for our city, but the greater loss is for abbey and nathan, theo and will. abbey, you know my great affection for milton, and you know why. even though i'm just a campaign manager we became really, really good friends, i don't think the world should be without him, so boys one day when you're feeling a little
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lost and wondering who you are come to me, and i will regale you with tales of a great man, your father, because he loved you so. thank you. [applause] >> we have just -- i think two or more speakers who served with milton in public service before hearing from abbey so please welcome milton's friend and former supervisor aaron peskin. >> thank you peter. thanks to abbey, to the children, to his brother and sister and milton's friends. i think you heard it. milton was a mensh. he was a
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absolute definition of a mensh. i didn't meet milton in politics. i met him in the historic preservation day and i can't remember where but it was 96 or 97 and i was making my usual fuss in saving the columbo building on column bus avenue and milton said there is a way to get if done but the way you're doing it might not be the right way". but i came to understand he was not only a historic preservationists and later on i got to know him as an environmentalists. he was a quiet warrior. he was' resentless quiet warrior and what senator leno didn't tell you and mark and i served on the finance committee and got that $250,000 and doubled down and
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walked out with a half million dollars and he was relentless and you ask how much is it going to cost to leave the office and we will pay you, and he maintained that commitment to those things and those that don't know me i come from the democratic wing of the democratic party. sorry. and milton was the menshy progressive and the milton that ran for the college board because of track of transparency and accountability. that is the milton that ran for the governing body that henny and i david chiu have the honor of serving on -- or i had the honor of serving on the local democratic party and he wanted to do that whether we want to call them transparent,
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accountable, progressives and still maintain a majority on that body, but there is another story i want to tell you which is in his relentless quiet fighting way milton was a real brave hero. we were going to have -- this is 14 months ago, a very close vote on the democratic central committee. i can say it now because the mayor has left and we were counting votes and we realized it was going to go -- there were 33 members of this body, and we realize it was going to be within a vote or two and milton was struggling and leaving nothing to chance called abbey and said "come on order" and making sure i left nothing to chance i
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brought his ninth grade teacher and milton was more or less present and he insisted he was coming to the meeting that wednesday evening and we insisted he needed to make his wishes known. he was independent and he said i'm going to attend that meeting on wednesday night and i thought it's never going to happen, and as john rizo, his successor is president of the community college board there he was 7:00 o'clock that night clear in his conscious, clear in his votes, clear in his statements, and it was remarkable to see how brave and relentless and quiet warrior he was all the 52 years. abbey, family we're very sorry for your loss.
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[applause] >> and right on cue in this nice segue. thank you aaron, john rizo -- yeah, i think john you're up next as aaron said, milton's successor as the president of the community college board. >> so aaron peskin stole my line. i was going to open with calling milton a mensh but i can't do that now, so i will call him a warrior in that case because that's what i think. that was one aspect of him. he fought the good fight. he brought on other soldiers. he brought me to fight the fights and when he was ill he was fighting two fights. he was fighting the fight for his life
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and he was fighting the fights at city college. it's fitting that we pay tribute to milton here in the hall of the people because milton was a model public servant. he stood for the principles of service to the communities, of honesty, and integrity. he was thoughtful in public policy. he would consider all sides and then come to a decision and stick to it. above all though i have to say he was dedicated, dedicated, dedicated to the task, to his job. he took it very seriously. he went above and beyond when it came to dedication. he was at board meetings when he was felt as sick as a dog, and he would come. he had a better attendance record than other
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board members who were as healthy as anything, but he would come during those 18 months when he wasn't in the hospital, and when he was in the hospital, and i would go to visit, it was business. he wanted to know what was going on? where is this policy going? has it passed this committee? and i would fill in him and "okay. this is what you do and talk to this guy and do that". yes, sir. he never gave up. one thing that i think also stands out in milton's public service is that there was never any drama as we often see. he was a tough fighter for his principles. he always stood up for his principles but always the nicest guy in politics, even to his opponents. if people
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were upset with him he would encourage them quietly to explain their point of view. "what do you mean? tell me about it". even if they were yelling in his face and it was amazing and he never raised his voice regardless of the vit tril old that was thrown at him. drama for milton he would close his mouth and shake his head. that was drama for milton. and if you really wanted to get dramatic he would say something. "no". that was drama for milton. you knew he was really mad when that happened. if policy he was exemplary. he did his research. he did not go buy emotion. he did not go by
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ideology. he went with policy, so i disagreed with him occasionally. everyone disagreed with him occasionally but he always had a really good sound reason to promote what he was promoting. before either of us were on the board of trustees we worked together on policy. he was at friends of urban forest and we were working on legislation that eventually created the urban forestry council and we were both interested in that, and from then i was active with the sierra club but he taught me about policy, how you craft policy at that time. this was before he was in office. he was interested in coalitions. he got me involved in the blue green alliance which was an alliance between environmentalists and labor and promote green energy and other
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activities and he brought all of this to the college board when he came. he brought me on, as i said to be a warrior, to fight the corruption, the lack of transparency, and other horrible things that were going on at the time, and after things got going we worked together on some projects of policy. he had an idea to create a sustainability plan that was not going anywhere for a while, but we worked together on that and we passed it, and it's really a great plan. it's an environmental model, i have to say. he brought a sunshine policy. we worked together in passing a sunshine policy. you have no idea how hard this was. everyone was opposed to it. it took a year, but we finally got it through, and he was
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persistent. we would meet about it and after i would say "i don't know milton. this doesn't look like it's going anywhere" and he would say "no. we're going to do this. we're going to do this" and he was right. he was a real reformer. he kept pushing and pushing in his quiet way. one of the things he would do is he would ask questions that he knew the answer to, so instead of him saying something at the board and trying to make an argument he would ask someone on the board, someone in the administration a question that he knew the answer to, and he would raise the issue that way. it was very effective. as president of the board he was a great president. he really reformed how the board worked. he created committees. we didn't have committees before. the first budget committee --
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if you can believe that. there was no budget committee. he created institutional effectiveness and how things were getting done and he would hold me accountable for the plans we were working on to challenge the status quo and if we were not succeeding he would tell me there was a problem, and that was great incentive when milton told you quietly you have to continue. so i'm grateful for all this, all this that he has taught me. i am very grateful. you know milton marks is someone that we should honor here and everywhere. he's also a person we should admire and he is someone we should celebrate. thank you.
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[applause] >> and before we hear from abbey i would like to welcome steve noe from the city college board. >> thank you abbey for giving me an opportunity to speak about milton today. some of you may have heard that city college is facing some troubles; that we are at risk of losing our license to operate a college, and some of you may have heard that there is a -- as there should be -- a cause to save city college, to keep it from going under. what some of you may not know is that milton marks for
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over a decade on the board was trying to save city college before it became a popular cause, long before it was attention of media attention or the focus of some of the leaders in san francisco. the model of city college of san francisco is the truth may make you free, and for 20 years or so the college lost its way. it stopped abiding by its own motto. fortunately milton often alone fought to have the college stay true to its motto and fortunately filton -- milton was the perfect person to carry out that mission. when i first